until Eric Bishoff created the "Elimination Chamber", the Royal Rumble was (hands down) my favorite gimmick match. It might be the unpredictability of opponents. Or
it could be the novelty of wrestlers taking on opponents that were out of the ordinary. Whatever it is, I always mark out every time that damn :10 buzzer starts counting down.
This year's Royal Rumble was significant because it contains something the WWE
hasn't been able to successfully pull off for the longest time - a truly
surprising moment (more on that later).
This year's Royal Rumble took place at Madison Square Garden in New York (did I
really have to tell you where it's located?) on January 27, 2008. In addition to
being the 21st Rumble and lasting 2 hrs 46min, it also holds the distinction of
being the very first PPV broadcast in HD (more on that later). Here's the card:
- Career Threatening Match [Ric Flair vs. MVP]
- It's been two months since Vince threatened that Flair must win every
singles match he participates in or else his career is over. Since then, he's
taken on Orton, Umaga, Triple H and Vince himself, and has prevailed in every
match. This time, he takes on Montel Vontavious Porter in a match that doesn't
conclude like the majority of MVP's recent matches have.
- Mr. McMahon Discusses the Rumble Match w/ Hornswoggle
- Chris Jericho vs. John "Bradshaw" Layfield - Anyone who thought that Jericho was half-assing it since coming back to the WWE should
check out this match - the one that mercifully ends this storyline with Layfield. After
this, JBL gets himself embroiled in the whole Hornswaggle/McMahon son mess,
while Jericho...well, that would be telling.
- Ashley Tries To Talk With Maria - Ashley: "So, what do you think about the hypocrisy of us being
"faces" as we strip off our clothes and get naked for the entire world to see, while the heels
are the "prudes"?"
Okay, so she didn't say that. But it makes you think...no?
- World Heavyweight Championship Match [Edge vs. Rey Mysterio] - I like Edge. I like Rey.
But I just was not feeling this match.
- Ric Flair In His Locker Room - After encountering Mr. Kennedy, we're treated to a mini-Evolution reunion.
- Maria's Kiss Cam - Maria's "Kiss Cam" segment comes to a sorry conclusion when Ashley enters the ring
with news for Maria.
- WWE Championship Match [Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy] -
There've been one or two previous PPV reviews where i've lamented the fact that
Hardy is so over with the fans and it's foolish for Vince not
to capitalize on it. Well, I guess Vince knows more than I (or other WWE fans)
know and Hardy has been suspended. It's a shame too, because he did
the work during this match against Randy Orton.
In addition to the matches, we're also treated to the following extras:
Intercontinental Championship Match - RAW January 14, 2008 [Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton] [8m 55s] -
Thankfully, this match from RAW begins without the lengthy entrances from Orton or Hardy. It's also the match that saw Hardy swonton
off a two story scaffold onto Orton.
Home Video Exclusive: Triple H Talks To John Cena Post Royal Rumble Match [1m 29s]
Royal Rumble's picture was slightly more colorful and vibrant than most WWE
PPV's. This is probably due to the fact that the Rumble is the very first PPV
after the WWE made the jump to HD. From what i've heard, while the picture was a
vast improvement over SD, there was still some occasional macro-blocking during
the pyro. So, even though the fact that this was sourced from HD made a slightly
noticeable difference with the vibrancy of the picture, the usual macro-blocking
still occasionally rears its ugly head. Oh yeah, in spite of it originally being presented
in a widescreen format, we're still saddled with the WWE's standard full frame
Audio: The Dolby Digital 5.1 was clear and
enveloping - with JR, Lawler, Cole, Coach, Tazz and Styles primarily in the center channel, various crowd
noise in the left and right fronts and some slight ambience in the rears.
Conclusion: Even though I didn't enjoy the Edge/Mysterio
match, Royal Rumble 2008 was pretty damn entertaining. It's a shame
there wasn't an HD release, but fans shouldn't let that deter them from picking
up this Highly Recommended release.